Currently Being ModeratedApr 23, 2013 4:51 PM (in response to Morbific)
Off the top of my head it could be you need to insure your drive with OSX is the startup volume. Goto system preferences and select you startup volume. You could also repair the disk and then choose your start up disk. Shut down your computer. Then restart holding down on the option key until the bong sound and choose your recovery disk and then disk utility and repair disk, after repair is complete select your start up disk (do NOT repair permissions here).
Currently Being ModeratedApr 23, 2013 4:58 PM (in response to Mini-Mac)
1. I've done a reboot and repair; it told me that the volume was fine.
1b. On this, the SMART status is fine, FWIW. I don't have great faith in that, but it tells me the drive's fine.
2. OS X is the startup volume (and it will boot into OS X fine, most of the time).
3. No, not a lot of startup items; in terms of the system, I've got Windows, OS X, and Recovery. Inside my user profile (not that it's engaged at this point) I think is just the iTunes helper thingy.
Spider Sense tells me this is something a bit lower level; that the Mac itself thinks something is wrong when it's starting up (but won't tell me what it is). This grey bar looks like some kind of full system check, but it always comes up fine and will (eventually) boot.
It's just **** annoying; I'd like to be proactive about it rather than waiting until it explodes
Currently Being ModeratedApr 24, 2013 10:44 AM (in response to Morbific)
If you live close to and Apple store they will diagnose it for FREE even if its out of warranty. Most likely if nothing is found wrong (hardware) they will suggest a reinstall. If you decide to reinstall from scratch I'd suggest you zero out your drive which will remove the recovery software also, and need have a copy of the operating system on DVD. If your using Lion or Mountain Lion you can download OSX BEFORE zeroing out your harddrive and put it on DOUBLE LAYER DVD single layer will not work.
Currently Being ModeratedApr 24, 2013 4:56 PM (in response to Mini-Mac)
Thanks Mini. The problem with where I live is that there's no actual Apple store. We've got an authorised service agent, but those guys charge $75 to have a look at your machine. They refund it if there's a warranty claim for service, but - in my experience, two submissions with two macs, both of which never got fixed - they're remarkably good at not actually fixing the device (for any money). I won't go back there.
It's weird - it serves Apple no benefit to have people like that representing their brand.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 26, 2013 2:03 PM (in response to Morbific)
I have rebuilt this Mac from a backup, and it's fixed now; the problem (after a lot of mucking about with fsck and the command line) was a disk table error that Apple's tools couldn't fix. Disk Utility would report the disk was fine, but fsck would find an error it couldn't fix.
Anyway, only solution was to blow it away and restore from backup, which has solved it.